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2015-06-04

Texas Senate unanimously passes 'Drunk Driving' bill

Special to the Courier

Last week, the Texas Senate unanimously passed HB 2246 to help prevent drunk driving and save lives on Texas.
HB 2246 allows any drunk driver to go on an ignition interlock for 90 days to one year in lieu of an administratively imposed license suspension after a drunk driving arrest.
On May 5, the House passed the bill by a vote of 143-1, and it now awaits Governor Greg Abbott's signature to become law. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) applauds the bill sponsors, Senator Joan Huffman and Representative Jason Villalba, for their unwavering leadership on this critical issue in Texas.
"This could not have happened without the dedication of Representative Villalba and Senator Huffman, who agreed change is needed in Texas to protect the public from the completely preventable crime of drunk driving," said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. "I hope the governor will quickly sign this bill to keep drunk drivers off Texas streets and highways."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40 percent of all traffic deaths in Texas are caused by a drunk driver. Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths, with 1,337 in 2013.
MADD supports the use of ignition interlocks for all offenders - instead of license suspension alone - because studies show that license suspensions are difficult to enforce and often ignored. Interlocks protect the public while allowing offenders to continue with their jobs, family obligations and other responsibilities.
"Ignition interlocks have reduced drunk driving deaths in other states by 30 to 45 percent," said Jaime Gutierrez, MADD Texas executive director. "This bill could save hundreds of lives in Texas, where too many families have suffered tragic losses at the hands of a drunk driver."